The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Green bullace jam recipe


Photo: Green bullaces - wild greengages

Photo: Green bullaces - wild greengages

If you missed the greengages a few weeks ago don’t panic. The wild greengages (green bullaces) are ready to pick now. These are not green cherry plums, which will now be yellow through to deep red when ripe. Green bullaces are green, fall into your hands when you touch them and taste just like a a mini version of our modern greengage.

They are the tiny ancient ancestors of our cultivated greengages. I like to imagine cave families going out to forage for them. Now, as way back then, they are free.

For years I’ve visited a small stretch of hedgerow in the village and collected just enough to make one bottle of green bullace vodka (excellent by the way). I have kept the location secret as there are so few fruits on this 2 meter stretch. But on a recent foraging ramble with Danny we discovered two trees – barely ten minutes from the cottage and whooped with joy. Cherry plums are everywhere on the Cambridgeshire/ Suffolk borders but green bullaces are a rarity.

The ones with a blush in the photo are sweeter but not so flavoursome as the bright green. Ideally, only use the firm bright green ones for this recipe.

Green bullace jam


900g/2 lbs of greengages
675g/1.5 lbs of white granulated sugar
Half a pint/275ml of water
The juice of a small lemon

1. Wash the bullaces and discard any damaged fruit.
2. Put the bullaces and water into a large heavy bottomed saucepan (or preserving pan) and simmer gently until the skins split and they are soft. Let them cool and then remove the stones.
3. Meanwhile, warm the sugar in a low oven for ten minutes and add to the fruit.
4. Stir gently over a low heat until you are sure that all the sugar crystals have dissolved.
5. Turn up the heat to a medium high setting and, stirring frequently, let the fruit boil rapidly for 10 minutes (this is called a rolling boil).
6. Remove any remaining stones with a slotted spoon during the boiling process – they are so tiny I always miss a few during the de-stoning phase.
7. Test for set – your finger makes a crinkly mark in jam that has been cooled for 2 mins in the fridge – remove the main pan from the heat during this process.
8. If the jam has not set, continue to boil rapidly and test at five minute intervals.
9. When the jam has set, carefully pour into warm, sterilised jars, using a ladle or small jug. A preserving funnel comes in very handy here and you lose much less jam.
10. Cover the jars with tight fitting screw-top lids, or waxed discs and cellophane pot covers (waxed discs, wax facing downwards and plastic covers secured with plastic bands).
11. Label when cold and store in a cool, dark place, well away from damp.

  Leave a reply


  1. Great bullace jam recipe is done and Vodka on the go thanks x

  2. I’ve just discovered from your web page that the “berries” i have been looking at for the last three weeks or more are the wild greengage.There’s a whole stack of them and we’re picking this evening . I notice you made a type of vodka , please can you divulge yr recipe and any others yr prepared to part with. This is new to us but we hope to make a seasonal thing of it . Thanks and regards Julian ,Claire and family

  3. amalee issa

    Thanks to all for this recipe – I’ll try and get my farming neighbours to give it a go with me – they have all the bits of kit.


  4. The Ribena Team

    This recipe looks delicious – we might just have to give it a go!
    There are some tasty recipes on the official Ribena blog too, including a berry based breakfast smoothie:
    Please feel free to let us know what you think in the comments section.
    The Ribena Team.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2,052,536 Spambots Blocked by Simple Comments

HTML tags are not allowed.

Copyright © 2006-2012 Cottage Smallholder      Our Privacy Policy      Advertise on Cottage Smallholder